I'm Nen, and here is a story of mine.
Before the Council.
A robin sang with notes of liquid crystal and the waterfall that danced at the edge if the garden chuckled quietly to itself. Legolas sat in Elrond's garden, enjoying the soft autumnal beauty. He heard steps behind him, heavier than most elven feet, but too light for a human. "It is a fair evening, Lord Elrond." he said, rising to his feet and turning to face his father's friend.
"Here, all evenings are fair, whatever darkness may lie beyond. Changes lie ahead, and we will feel them more than most."
Legolas was surprised, "You have the power to hold back change."
"I hope I also have the wisdom to know what should change and what should not. Will you return to Thranduil after our Council? Is that his wish?"
"He gave me power to act as I wish. I will be guided by your wisdom. If I may be of use to you in any way, here I am. My father would not wish me to do otherwise."
Elrond sat on a low wall and gestured for Legolas to sit on the wall opposite. They looked around the garden and Elrond's eyes alighted on the robin. "Celebrian loved to hear a robin singing. Do you remember her? You were young when we were last together in Mirkwood."
"Such grace is not forgotten. I remember her laughing with my mother. Forgive the question, but do you ever think of following her to ... to the west?"
Just for an instant, a look of pain appeared on Elrond's face. "Every morning and evening, every time I think of her. I love Imladris. I love my children. I long to see Celebrian again. It is a sorry thing, to live with a divided heart. Yet my duties hold me here too. I am needed here."
"You are, lord. You have done much to protect and help our people and others."
Elrond watched him for a while in silence. Eventually he said, "You are a skilled warrior, like your father and your grandfather. Like them, you are faithful and trustworthy. Such a warrior could be useful, yet I saw Oropher die in battle, and I would not ask Thranduil to lose both father and son in battles against our enemy. There are many warriors in my household and any would go if I asked them."
"But you want me to go." said Legolas, his voice so low that only Elrond could hear, "To go where, exactly?"
Elrond listened to another sweet song from the robin. His eyes were sad and his own voice quiet. "How far would you go, for the sake of your land?"
"I do not think my grandfather went further than I would go." said Legolas. Part of him already knew that the same path lay beneath his feet and would lead to death or to a victory few warriors could ever hope to see. He looked at Elrond and tried to see the herald of Gil-Galad, but the Elrond he saw now was far higher than that, and crowned with long wisdom respected even by the Dwarves. Still, this lord had fought alongside his father and grandfather. He had been a faithful friend to both. He had been a faithful friend to all who stood against the Shadow. "You do not need to speak of the threat to my land, Lord. Though I would fight for that, I will gladly give my life to whatever cause you would have me serve. I honour your wisdom and trust your will in such matters. Do not trouble over whether I will do what you ask when you unfold your purpose, I say now, in ignorance of it, that I know you are right. I will do whatever you ask of me."
"I do not ask you blindly to pledge yourself to so fell a path."
"I am not blind. I shall take the light of Imladris as a beacon. My father has never regretted trusting you."
Elrond smiled, "You are very like your father, of whom I can think nothing ill, but you have one quality by which you become the best choice for what lies ahead. There is no bitterness in you. Immortal grudges have not taken root in your heart. Yet I do not want to send you. Already one is involved who has been a third son to me."
"If he goes, let me go too. It may be that an arrow of mine will keep him alive for you. Would you send me back to my people when the glory is all in the other direction?" Legolas sighed. "The grandson of Oropher, sent hime to wait for words of others' deeds!"
Elrond was clearly still reluctant. "When Oropher fell, I wished he had not been with us. I saw your father's grief, which you have only known blunted by the wearing of long years. You are more to him than any other."
"Yet you said I was your choice. Whatever this is, it is too big a thing to be threatened by concern for a father's grief."
"Yes, but I am a father too."
"And you do not tether your sons in safe pastures, but let them do what they can. I was not taught the use of a bow so that I could cower in safety. I am a warrior." Legolas knelt before Elrond. "Do not ask me. There is no need to ask. As you served Gil-Galad, I will serve you. If the path leads to the land of shadows, I will still take it. Give me a chance to repay the long debt of my grandfather's death, of all their deaths. You wanted me to do this."
"Success would be more likely were you involved." said Elrond, "I will not deceive you. It may be that death will be your only reward."
"The same is true of fighting orcs at home, but there is less glory in that. The day I first drew a bowstring, my life was put into peril. It is more precious to me because of that."
"If, after all has been said, you decide not to go, I will speak no word of blame. You cannot imagine what will be asked of you and I cannot tell you here and now."
Legolas stood, "Son of Eärendil, whatever else happens, one son of Mirkwood will follow your guidance and do as you ask. I am not my grandfather's equal in strength or prowess, but in devotion, none shall find me lacking."
Elrond stood too and embraced Legolas. "He would be proud of you. Go and rest. Enjoy the peace of Imladris. Tomorrow there will be much talk and much debate, and after that, I do not know what may come."
As Legolas bowed and took his leave, the robin sang again and he hoped that Elrond's divided heart would find a sweet reunion at the end of his labours.